India

Kudankulam: Six killed in blast near India nuclear plant

A man injured in the blast near the nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu being treated on 27 November 2013
Image caption Police said a crude bomb being made inside a house caused the explosion

Six people have been killed in an explosion near a nuclear power plant in India's Tamil Nadu state, police say.

Three others were injured when a home-made bomb accidently exploded near the controversial Kudankulam nuclear plant, which began operations in October.

The plant begun producing electricity in October after years of protest.

Opponents of the plant, which is on the coastline hit by the 2004 Asian tsunami, fear a disaster similar to the one at Fukushima in Japan in 2011.

But the government says the joint Indo-Russian project, which is seen as critical to India's energy needs, is "necessary for the welfare and economic growth of India" and is "completely safe".

Police said it was investigating whether the blast in a coastal village on Tuesday night was linked to protests over the plant.

"The bomb exploded accidently inside a house. Six people died and three more are seriously injured," local police chief Vijayendra Bidari told Associated Press news agency.

He claimed the house was being used as a bomb-making factory.

TV footage showed at least three homes collapsed near the blast site in Idinthakarai village, from where most of the protests against the plant have originated.

Senior officials of India's Atomic Energy Commission told the Press Trust of India news agency that the plant was safe and functioning normally.

The plant is one of many that India hopes to build as part of its aim of generating 63,000 MW of nuclear power by 2032 - an almost 14-fold increase on current levels.

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